In case you were wondering, I have a huge obsession with the music that comes out of Sweden. Now I'm back with another brief but odd take on an album of which I have grown rather fond.
Their bandcamp bio says it best. "Trashy stoner-doom with inspiration from black metal, bluesy psychedelic stoner and everything in between." This is exactly what it is. Look at the album cover. It looks like it sounds.
House of the Dead....Released January 27, 2017
Styles blend perfectly on this album. There are screams and gutteral vocals that are reminiscent of the sound you might expect to hear echoing from some sub-level chamber where untold things occur and yet, they are so pleasing to the ear. There are screamers, with minimal ability for clean vocals. Then there are singers like Emil. He can scream to the rafters and back and still maintain great tone quality. In laymans terms, he screams on key really well. The gutteral stuff....well, it scares the hell out of me and I love it. It's the sort of sound that vibrates in your chest when you stand close enough to the stage. His vocals stand up to the wall of guitars The clean vocals just might make you think Jim Morrison was resurrected in an unholy ceremony, took over Glenn Danzig's body, and now spends his time fronting a Swedish stoner doom band. Yes. Dead serious. Give it a listen. I think you'll agree.
The thing that struck me about the instrumentals on this album is how well balanced they are. Hell, everything on this album is. No one element overpowers the others. Huge credit to production on this album. Is it in the water up there or what? How do you Swedes keep coming up with this brilliant stuff?
On to the tracks and some color association stuff....I mean this is my wide world of weird after all.
Track 1) The Infernal God...The intro to this one is exactly the type of music I would expect to hear if sneaking up to the house on the album cover was a scene in a movie. Don't take that as meaning a slow segue into the music. It sort of sneaks up behind you and forcefully shoves you off your chair. The guitar work is great. It makes you bang your head. If it doesn't do that, then it makes you play air guitar, and if not that.....maybe you should pick another genre to enjoy. This song was a really nice shade of green for me. Specifically, it reminds me of a surf green Fender Stratocaster. If I close my eyes, it rises up around me like steam from a city street.
Track 2) House of the Dead...This song is the perfect example of why I like stoner doom so much. You can crank it and chill out with your chemical entertainment of choice, or you can crank it and rock the fuck out. Take my advice. Play it loud. Share it with your neighbors. This song was green as well. I think the guitar gods may be telling me that I need to go buy a surf green Fender.
The nuance in this one stands out to me. Specifically in the drums. There are other drummers out there that would overload a track like this with unnecessary snare rolls and ridiculous ham handed cymbal crashes. That doesn't happen here. Everything is exactly where it should be. I should give you more detail. Just take my advice like I said a few lines back. Play it.
Track 3) Satan Venit...The riff the riff the riff!! Here lies a bluesy psychedelic element. It draws you in and surrounds you. It makes you obey the stoner doom gods and the dark Lord himself. "You shall kneel!" Thus sayeth our vocalist. Later in this track he brings in vocals that sit somewhere between meditation chant and dark ritual mantra. I mentioned it at the beginning. This is the sound you hear from that sub level chamber. This one was gray like morning fog that floats through the darkest city streets.
Track 4) II...Here is the doomiest of stoner doom guitar riffs on the album in my opinion. Hit play and let it surround you because it will do just that. "They say I got demons in my mind...." Well, your demons make a damn good song sir. It floats in my minds eye in colors like a craft beer (yes, odd, get over it). I see pale yellow-gold and ivory. The lead guitar here is sexy as fuck. Yes, I just used a term common in American social media. I'm not proud of it. I don't care. It is sexy. I have a weakness for wah pedal subleties. The lead guitar stands out especially well in this track.
Track 5) Hounds of Hell...Virgin ears call upon your stoner doom gods again because you will need their guidance through the awesomeness. This has all the elements of the genre. If you'll excuse me for a minute, I'm going to take a break and breathe in this translucent blue cloud of guitar goodness. You need to listen to this album. Just take my word for it.
Track 6) The Witch...I wonder if her robes are pale green because that's the color that sweeps up from the ground and surrounds me like fog. This is my favorite track on the whole album. The intro is a bit slower than the other songs on the album but it kicks in soon enough. It showcases every part of the band and the stoner doom genre in brilliant fashion. Let's be real here. A nine minute and four seconds long track wouldn't mesh well with other styles. Here they can get away with it. "The Witch" holds your attention without lulling you into a stupor with an all too common over processed tedium found in so much music today. This brings me to another point.
Why do I love the heavy music? These people play their instruments, and they don't need a ten person team of executives who've never been on a stage in their life to write a song and hand it to them to integrate into a set list full of autotuned BS. This stuff is real. Now back to Ordos.....
The rhythm section builds that cloud of sound on this album. The lead guitar weaves its way in and out of that cloud in ways that make you want to sway in libidinous fashion, around an unholy altar while gutteral chants percolate upward from that chamber below.
..........and we've come full circle.
Check out Ordos. The link is above.
You'll thank me later.